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British PM backs int'l response after Algerian hostage crisis


16:19, January 22, 2013

LONDON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron Monday said the seizure and killing of hostages in Algeria by Al-Qaeda linked terrorists was part of an "evolving threat which demands an international response".

Cameron said that after the incident at the In Amenas gas plant there were at least three dead British nationals among the 135 foreigners who had been part of the 800-strong workforce.

"I can confirm that three British nationals are dead, with a further three feared dead as is a Colombian national resident in Britain," Cameron told the House of Commons.

Cameron said 40 foreign nationals had been taken hostage, with 12 confirmed killed and a further 20 unaccounted for and feared dead.

Algeria's response to the hostage crisis was praised by Cameron, "This would have been a most demanding job anywhere in the world, and we should acknowledge the resolve shown by the Algerians. The responsibility for these deaths lies squarely with the terrorists."

Cameron said the attack outlined the threat that terrorism posed to the countries and citizens of the region and to British companies, interests and citizens, and the changing nature of the threat from Al-Qaeda was apparent in Yemen, Somalia and parts of North Africa.

"More than ever, this evolving threat demands an international response," he said.

Terrorism in North Africa had been fuelled by hostage ransoms and wider criminality, he said, and vowed he would use his role as chairman of the G8 nations to "make sure this issue of terrorism and how to deal with it is right at the top of the agenda".

He called for an effort across the region, including Mali "to work with Malians, neighbors and allies to prevent a new terrorist haven" forming.

Cameron ruled out a combat role for the British military in the fight against Islamist rebels in northern Mali, bordering Algeria, and said the support for the French military effort there would continue and he was considering increasing logistic support and providing surveillance assets.

He supported training for African soldiers who should play the lead role in Mali, and backed the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) in its role as a coordinating body for intervention in Mali.

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